Last week after a photoshoot at DCA, I dropped by Gravelly Point for a few minutes since I was feeling up to it (I am recovering from a shoulder injury). I didn’t stay long, but couldn’t resist the beautiful weather. I snapped some photos, but really wanted to try the EOS R shooting 4K through a 400mm lens, which equates to 700mm with the EOS R’s 4K crop. In short, 700mm handheld makes for great photos, but is really hard for video (duh).
The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.
I've been sitting on a huge backlog of personal photos I've been working through; this set of plane spotting photos from Gravelly Point were edited and completed within a week of me shooting them, but somehow I forgot to get them online. So here are some highlights for you to enjoy - some Summer sunset planespotting for you.
Just like I did two weeks ago, I decided to drop into Gravelly Point after a photoshoot at DCA. This time I only spent 10 minutes there, because it was raining, but I wanted to stop and check out the view, because it was raining. Sometimes inclement weather can lead to more interesting action shots than a "perfect" clear day, because water vapor can condense and leave trails and vortices that add a little something extra. Sadly this was not the case that day, but I did get an interesting view through the approach lighting, and spoke with a couple who stopped on their bikes to enjoy the view and ask about my attention-grabbing lens.
I also managed to capture this arrival and departure through the approach lights; this is 400mm handheld, and I didn't bring my microphone, so just enjoy the footage for what it is :-)
Despite all the aviation photography I capture, I've only been to Gravelly Point a handful of times; twice on dates, and a few other times just to stop in the parking lot and check my phone before hitting the road after leaving a photoshoot at DCA proper. This may be shocking to you, but I've never photographed at Gravelly Point before. Never. I've just never taken the time to, since I normally am photographing on assignment on an active airfield for my aviation work.
Friday, Star Wars Day, was no different; I had left DCA after a full day of photographing and decided to stop and respond to a few texts before hitting the GW Parkway, except this time I actually had my telephoto with me and was in no rush, so I decided to hop out and see what I could capture for a few minutes. Plus, it was odd lighting; the sun was setting, but a storm was moving in at the same time.
Before I left DCA I did spot one of these HC-144 Ocean Sentries; I heard there was a whole group that had flown in while I was there, but I only saw this one taxiing. That was before I left DCA though.
Now enjoy these photos I captured in a span of only 20min at Gravelly Point. Gravelly Point geographically lies just over 1,000ft from end of R/W 19, squarely below the runway's glide slope on the Potomac River, giving an impressive perspective of aircraft turning to final only a few hundred feet overhead.
The park also offers some great views of the DC skyline, though I didn't venture very far off the runway centerline; I have still never been to the waterfront at Gravelly Point, so I don't know what other views it may offer.
I also decided to try catching video of one of the arrivals; with the storm moving in, all aircraft were performing crosswind landings, which, while routine flying for experienced pilots, is still impressive to see, especially to the uninitiated like some of the other onlookers enjoying the finally-warm weather in the park.